Skilled migrant intake slashed

The Rudd Government has slashed the number of skilled immigrants it will accept during the 2009-10 financial year by 14% in what it says is another bid to protect Australian jobs.


Federal Immigration Minister Chris Evans says Australia’s intake of skilled migrants will fall from 133,500 in 2008-09 to 115,000 in 2009-10.


“Clearly the economic circumstances in Australia have changed as a result of the global financial crisis, so it is prudent to reduce this year’s migration intake accordingly,” Evans said in a statement.


Construction and manufacturing jobs have been removed from the list of jobs where skills shortages are critical, which provides a further buffer for tradespeople hit by slowdowns in both sectors.


The critical skills list is now dominated by the health, engineering and IT sectors.


Federal Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard has also hinted at a new training and skills programs aimed at keeping young people off the dole queue and in school for a few more years.


Gillard is concerned about the potential for a spike in youth unemployment, given the year 12 retention rate has slipped from 77% in the early 1990s to around 75%.


“This is not high enough for a nation aspiring to success as an advanced industry economy in the 21st century,” Gillard says.



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